I work from home, and recently I experienced a week of utter disruption in concentration, focus, and flow. The house next door was being demolished to make room for a new home for the new owners.
All day long I would hear the sound and the vibration of bulldozers as they plowed into the back of the house, of pounding on the roof as they disconnected the house being demolished from the one that I live in, and of bricks falling as they ripped the house apart piece by piece.
Then… silence. In a week’s time, a house that took who knows how long to build and lasted for over a hundred years was gone, demolished. A house that had once been someone’s home and provided many memories and occasions… no longer in existence. All that remained was a large hole in the ground where the old house once stood – and where the vision of the new home to be built was now a possibility. Fresh ground awaiting a new foundation to be poured. And in three weeks that new foundation has already been poured, and you can see the makings of an entirely new house rising from the ground.
As I observed all of this occurring, it dawned on me that the destruction of the old and building of something new is such an apt metaphor for what’s required of each of us to become conscious leaders today.
Change is happening rapidly whether we like it or not. To keep up with this ever-changing marketplace, organizations are required to think differently, change their internal operating systems and reinvent themselves from the inside out. And to lead the change effectively and steer organizations to new shores, leaders must also transform themselves.
The book “Shakti Leadership”, by Nilima Bhat and Raj Sisodia, so beautifully outlines the case for this important shift and demonstrates what’s needed to unlock the source of true leadership. In the past, leaders (both male and female) bought into the notion that effectiveness requires traditionally masculine qualities. Hierarchical, militaristic and “win-at-all costs” styles have been highly valued and perceived as the way to be successful in life and in the marketplace. However, as we have evolved and a myriad of challenges have arisen in society and in business, that way of thinking and leading is no longer effective.
What’s needed now is a shift into more balanced energy that marks a continued evolution of leadership, integrating what has been considered more feminine qualities of cooperation, listening, and empathy. And to be a highly effective leader we must each raise our own awareness and learn how to integrate and balance both the masculine and feminine qualities that we all possess. It is power coming from an authentic place that exists within us all and what the Yogic tradition has called Shakti, or life force energy.
Says the book:
Becoming a conscious leader requires a transformational journey. You do not become a conscious leader just by getting behavioral skills training in “what leaders do.” Deeper, foundational shifts are required to connect you to new and true bases of consciousness and power. The person you are is the leader you are; therefore, you have to make the journey inward to transform yourself. The hero’s journey, Joseph Campbell’s masterwork, maps perfectly onto modern leadership and business. You need to push beyond your known zone. It takes hard work and you will face many obstacles along the way. It is also a dangerous journey in which you’re going to have to “die” in some ways.
Human beings and the universe are evolving in a certain direction; there is a distinct trajectory that can be discerned. There is an evident purpose to this process, it’s not all based on random mutations. If we can flow into that trajectory and be part of it rather than be at cross-purposes with it, we can have access to extraordinary power. We become agents of what needs to be; if not, these infinitely powerful forces quickly cancel our feeble efforts.
How do you connect with a place that fuels you continuously? How do you become a whole person in order to be a whole leader? How do you become a flexible person in order to be a flexible leader?
The book explores these questions and more.
What is required to lead today, in the 21st century world of business, is a new paradigm of leadership. In essence, it requires a demolition of our existing house – our way of thinking or what has made us successful in the past. In its place, we must build an entirely new house that will allow new ways of being and thinking to emerge… the rise of Shakti leadership that embraces all that we are.